Recently I’d written a post about how Visual Retrieval Practice could work as a great starter (or any other part of a lesson) to recall previous knowledge.
The same premise could also work very well to act as a visual stimulus to send students off on their learning journey – i.e. as a pre-learning task. The idea would be to put a similar collage of images on the board (as in the above and below example) which all relate to information / a topic which the students haven’t begun learning and are about to start.
These images may seem abstract to the students at first but getting the students to discuss and share what the images mean to them before they realise why they are relevant can help them to negotiate their significance to the topic once they start exploring it further. It’s also a great way of helping the key information become more memorable and also of diagnosing any prior knowledge the students have.
In Media Studies one of the set texts for study is Beyonce’s music video ‘Formation’. The video itself makes a series of cultural references events such as the civil rights movement, slavery, police oppression and the effects of Hurricane Katrina on communities in New Orleans. The video was released to coincide with her half-time performance at the NFL Superbowl during which her backing dancers controversially dressed in replica Back Panther costumes. Various students would have some awareness of these events but seeing images relating to them as a visual collage on the board (see above) and discussing what they know prior to watching and deconstructing the video should enhance their ability to discuss why Beyonce had decided to make reference to them and what she was trying to say by their inclusion.
By using this method students are able to have prior knowledge of key issues related to the topic of study, rather than be bombarded with significant information that they have no developed concept of. The discussions related to the images can also provide some very enlightening, interesting and insightful responses.